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Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots are searching for the AllSpark, a cube that transforms inorganic matter into living machines. With the help of human Sam (a teenage kid whose dad buys Bumblebee for him), they search for clues to the location of the AllSpark and fight the Decepticons who want it for their own nefarious ends.

What I Thought

I'm quite torn about this movie. It's really two movies mashed together; one was quite fun and good and the other was utterly awful.

So let's separate these two sub-movies. We have the "human" story with young Sam (very well played by "up and comer" Shia LaBeouf). He's a very funny and fun character, and it's great seeing the interaction between Sam and his parents, his car, and a girl he likes. I can definitely see why Transformers has put Shia "on the map" of young actors who are the next "it" thing. If the movie was only about Sam and his involvement with the Autobots, two thumbs up.

Unfortunately, the other part of the movie deals with the military. I've read somewhere that the director, Michael Bay, traded military access (to bases, equipment, air craft carriers, and exclusive filming of the newest jets) for showing the military in a "positive" light. In doing so, he sold the soul of this movie out to be a propaganda-laden armed forces commercial, and it was quite horrific to watch.

When I say "propaganda-laden", I mean that he treated "the military" as one character (rather than individual military people) and created whole sections of the movie that could be cut out and made into a TV commercial without any editing. It got to be quite silly and I sensed the audience just wanted to fast forward through this stuff.

I'm trying to say this not in an anti-military sort of way. I have the highest respect for the military and what they do (and any other profession where you effectively sacrifice some of your civil liberties for the good of the country) and as a U.S. citizen I am offended that my military is being used as a prop in such an odious manner. It reminds me of how Michael Moore both used and was used by the Cuban government in his movie SiCKO.

There was certainly a place for military personnel in this movie. After all, it's obvious that were we actually attacked by sentient robot-vehicle hybrids, the military would be some of the first people to respond to the threat. But the monopoly that the military has in this movie (I saw no police, no fire engines, no ambulances in the large city battle at the end!) was just sheer pandering.

And that's a big fat shame, because the human part of this movie would have gotten two thumbs up. But the heavy-handed military approach (Bay even makes the Secretary of Defense be a hands-on gun-toting hero!) slowly leeched all the fun out of Transformers. So even though the Transformers themselves were great and LaBeouf was a revelation, the movie as a whole was significantly less than meets the eye.


All photos and text copyright Ryszard Kilarski, unless otherwise noted. Clip art, drawings, paintings are either free domain or copyrighted by the artists.